Posts Tagged ‘hillclimb’
After recently wrapping up the 2012 NSW Hillclimb Championship with one round remaining, Mudgee driver Doug Barry has boldly predicted he can win the Bathurst Real Estate Australian 2012 Hillclimb Championship on November 2-4, and in doing so join the 100mph (160km) club. Barry drives a car that has already won the championship on four occasions, a Lola T8750 F3000. Allan Hamilton was the first to win with it at Victoria’s Gippsland Park in 1989, and then West Australian Gary West won again at Gippsland in 2004, and in ’06 and ’08 on the Esses course. The event will be run by the Bathurst Light Car Club, and it will be the 68th edition of this historic championship, and the eighth occasion it has been run at Bathurst. It will also be the longest and fastest of all time, as it will be the first occasion it has been conducted on the 1.7km Mountain Straight course, which runs from the hump on Mountain Straight and finishes just before McPhillamy Park. The outright record for the Mountain Straight course is 39.35seconds, set by Sydney driver Tim Edmondson early in 2011 when he won the NSW Championship round driving his imported British Gould GR55B. However he has twice been faster than that time, the most recent in late August when he clocked 36.91secs, and on each occasion was under the 100mph (160kph) average, which is remarkable given it is from a standing start. He has admitted that on the telemetry it shows 250kph twice. Since he bought the Lola at the end of 2008, the 50 year old Barry has been learning the trade of driving an open wheel racing car, for it is the first time he has competed in anything but a tin top since starting motorsport in 1988. A motor mechanic by trade, the grazier from a farm some 20kms from Mudgee, started competing in drags and lap dashes, before moving up through supersprints and hillclimbs to circuit racing in production cars driving an AP5 Valiant complete with press button gearshift. He had an extended break away from motorsport in 1994, and then in 2005 following a medical scare and on the advice of a doctor he returned to the wheel driving an Alfa Romeo GTV V6, which was soon replaced by a Mitsubishi Evo 2, which he sold to Bathurst’s Scott Tutton in ‘08 when he purchased the Lola to run in the NSW Hillclimb Championships. In his first three years in the championship he finished 6th outright, then this year turned it all around, finishing second in the first three rounds, and then won the Bathurst round on the Mountain Straight course, and came within 0.01 of a second from Edmondson’s record. He then went on to win the next three rounds, and in the penultimate round at Huntley finished second to Edmondson who had missed the majority of the season, which was enough to wrap up his first title. Just over a week ago in the final round at Newcastle’s King Edward Park, he finished second behind former rally champion and dual Holden and Ford factory driver Dave Morrow in his 1.3 litre Krygger Suzuki. It was the veteran Coffs Harbour driver’s first round victory. “We had a new compound tyre, and we were in trouble with the rear end, it just wouldn’t stop sliding”, said Barry. “Dave (Morrow) really took the fight to me and ended up on top. But he really deserved it so good on him. “I’m really looking forward to the Australian titles at Bathurst. I like that hill, it’s better than the Esses, for I hold my breath the whole way up, and I can’t on the Mountain Straight. Besides it really suits my car, and if there are no driver brain fades, I’ll back myself to take it up to all challengers.” Barry is certain to get all the challengers he wants, for already there are in excess of 110 entrants from all around the nation. Edmondson will start the event favourite in the Gould with its superb ground effect’s and its 3.5 litre Nicholson McLaren V8 powerplant. Renowned Sydney hillclimb race car builder Ron Hay will also be competing in his Synergy Dallara. It has a Dallara chassis which was raced in Japan before being imported to Australia, and purchased as a rolling chassis by Hay. The New Zealand based Synergy company were then entrusted with the job of building a special hillclimb engine, 2.4 litre’s and weighing just 100kg. Also a contender for Sunday will be Malcolm Oastler and his new weapon, the Dallabusa, a Dallara with a Hayabusa engine, a car that should be very fast and attract a considerable amount of interest of interest this weekend. The former Australian champion from Victoria Brett Haywood, has also entered his 09 Haywood, and there are two other drivers who as yet have not entered, but if they do will be among favourites. They are four time champion Garry West, with his latest project, an imported British Pilbeam MP 82, which was last used by Sydney’s Tom Donovan, which is being fitted with a super charged Nissan SR20 2.3 litre, The other strong possibility is Queenslander Dean Tighe with a Dallara 395 , the same as Ron Hay has. Tighe has fitted a 4 litre EV in the back with a Reynard F3000 gearbox. The Bathurst real Estate 2012 Australian Hillclimb Championship is also supported by the Bathurst RSL Club, Rydges and Repco.
Queensland Hillclimb ace Warwick Hutchinson successfully defended his outright title on the flats of the historic Leyburn Sprints despite being forced to retire with engine failure before the end of the event’s 17th annual running on the Darling Downs last weekend. Hutchinson lost the engine in his specially-built Ultimate Power Steering Van Diemen single-seater after the fourth of seven scheduled runs on Leyburn’s 1.1 kilometre around-the-houses course. His last run of 46.727 seconds was his fastest, but he had to wait while closest rival Grant Watson took three more shots at the mark in his ProSport Eclipse sports car, ultimately falling short by just 0.419 seconds, before claiming the Col Furness Memorial Trophy at the end of a memorable weekend of grassroots motorsport. Watson finished second, ahead of Garry Ford in a V8-engined Ford Escort. A field of 199 drivers, a diverse line-up of classic, historic and performance cars ranging in vintage from 1926 to 2012, almost 100 Shannons Show ‘n’ Shine entries and perfect weather combined to attract a potentially record crowd. “Although we haven’t completed a final count, the two-day attendance is likely to be more than 10,000 and we all feel this was probably the best crowd we’ve ever had,” Sprints organising committee President Ann Collins said. “Everybody loved the event, whether they were spectators or competitors. The weekend went very well and everybody had fun.” Leyburn’s good-natured country atmosphere saw a packed campground, front-yard spectator parties, pig races at the local RSL on Saturday night, Country Womens Association catering for the volunteer officials and a rollicking trophy presentation during which the prizes – varnished rocks varying in size for first, second and third – were distributed from the back of a ute parked outside the 1863-licensed Royal Hotel. Rock recipients included the fastest Historic-category driver David Cross, who recorded a 49.313 second run in his 1976 V8 Bowin-Hay single-seater, fifth-best also in the overall classification. The oldest car entered, Andrew Wilson’s 1926 supercharged Amilcar AC, beat many newer cars with a 107th-fastest time of 58.917 seconds. The honour of slowest time, along with a special prize recognising sporting spirit, went to Graham Shipton, who brought his 1936, 680 cc. Auto Union sports car all the way from Adelaide to stop the clock at 1 minute 30.121. Proceeds from the not-for-profit 2012 Leyburn Sprints will assist Ovarian Cancer Australia, RACQ Careflight Rescue and numerous local community groups and projects.
Local club level motorsport is some of the most entertaining and spectacular for spectators. This weekend will see the fourth round of the Tighe Cams Hillclimb Series at Mt Cotton. The event, which is run on the MG Car Club of Queensland’s grounds, is also being used by the Historic Racing Car Club of Qld as round four of its series of competition events for the year. This means that the number of entries will be higher and that the popular historic class will be significantly contested. Competition will begin at 11.30am on Saturday and at 8.30am on the Sunday and will finish at about 4pm each day. Entry for spectators is free and spectators can enjoy an uninterrupted view of the whole circuit from the spectator terraces adjacent to the track. The hillclimb is located on Gramzow Rd, off Mt Cotton Rd, at Mt Cotton. For further information, go to www.mgccq.org.au Pictured is Roy Davis who will be competing in the historic Group T class in his Triumph GT6. Photo by Phil Melvin
Rhys Millen has conquered the annual ‘race to the clouds’ at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, taking overall victory and setting a new outright record on his way to victory. The New Zealander, driving a Hankook Hyundai Genesis Coupe, topped a field of almost 200 drivers and motorcyclists with a time of 9 minutes 46:164 seconds, less than two hundredths of a second ahead of Romain Dumas in a factory-backed Porsche 911. 2012 marked the 90th running of the race and presented competitors with a new challenge, a fully paved racing surface – rather than dirt – on the last section of the mountain’s 14,000-foot elevation finish. “With the newly paved section of the course and the hot weather conditions, a lot of people failed or crashed,” said Millen. “My experience at Pikes Peak over the years allowed me to shave a few tenths from virtually every corner. Breaking the 10-minute barrier is something I’ve always wanted to do, and it feels great to accomplish this goal in 2012.” Millen’s Genesis Coupe was the same car that his father Rod Millen drove to a record time in the Time Attack 2WD class at last year’s Pikes Peak event. For the 2012 hill climb it received a redesigned higher-downforce aero package and wider rear bodywork to house new, ultra-wide, staggered fitment Hankook Ventus F200 racing slicks on custom HRE lightweight wheels. Enhancements to the turbocharged V6 engine resulted in outputs of 530 kilowatts and 949 Nm of torque. “We were able to leverage the additional downforce and traction opportunities provided by the new all-tarmac surface and, despite a torrential downpour during the last half mile, the heat in the Hankook slick tyres was enough to produce a new record.” Hankook motorsports marketing manager Paul Jho acclaimed the Rod Millen Racing (RMR) team for “an amazing job” at Pikes Peak. “Racing at Pikes Peak is extremely competitive, adding the course’s new fully paved surface made this one of the most heated events to date,” said Jho. “I am glad that Hankook’s Ventus F200 tires provided Rhys with the performance he needed to dominate at this year’s race to the clouds.”
History will be created at Mount Panorama on 2-4 November 2012, when the Bathurst Light Car Club (BLCC) conducts the 68th edition of the Australian Hillclimb Championship (AHCC), the eighth occasion it has been run at Bathurst, and for the first time it will be held on the Mountain Straight side of the iconic circuit. The Mountain Straight climb starts from the top of the hump on Mountain Straight adjacent to the Winery, and climb’s the mountain in race direction to the finish located near the police compound just prior to McPhillamy Park. At 1.7 kms, the Mountain Straight course is the longest and fastest hillclimb course in the nation, and several drivers are expected to join the ‘100 mph club’ during the event. The two main protagonists are Sydney automotive engineer Tim Edmondson, and Mudgee grazier Doug Barry. The outright record is 39.35seconds, set by Edmondson early in 2011 when he won the NSW Championship round driving his imported British Gould GR55B, and then in the same event this year Barry at the wheel of his LolaT8750 F3000 came to within 0.01 seconds of that time. However, Edmondson has achieved a 100 mph average run, that coming when he won the annual BLCC speed weekend in December 2011 with an amazing 37.69secs run, but as that was recorded in a club event, it was not eligible to take the outright record, but it is still a club record. The BLCC are being swamped with enquiries about the event, prompting Clerk of Course David Robinson to say it is creating unprecedented interest. “One way or another I’ve been involved with several of the Australian Hillclimb Championships here in Bathurst, and I’ve never seen so much interest. The club has an amazing number of 620 names of interested competitors on its data base, and we’re pretty sure we’ll reach our maximum of 150,” Robinson said. “The event will be run over three days, with practice on Friday November 2, and then official runs the remaining two days. “You will see the serious ones here next month, when we (BLCC) conduct a club event on the mountain Straight climb on August 26th as a practice event for the big one. “We do have a launch for the hillclimb on the 27th of this month, and then we’ll be making an announcement on a very important naming rights sponsor” Robinson said. The AHCC is the second longest running motor sport championship in Australia, behind only the Australian Grand Prix, and this year it will be held on 2-4 November, with practice on Friday and official runs the following two days Saturday and Sunday. While this year’s championship will be the first on the Mountain Straight side of the circuit, the course in recent years has been run as part of the BLCC Club Championship, particularly at the season ending Speed Weekend late November or early December, and in recent years as a round of the NSW Championship. This year celebrates 74 years since the Mountain Straight course was first used as a hillclimb on the ‘Old Bald Hills’. In 1938 the circuits first ever hillclimb was conducted on the Mountain Straight side of the circuit by the Light Car Club of NSW, and saw the late and legendary George Reed of Bathurst win on what was dirt and driving his ’34 Ford Roadster. All AHCC’s run at Mount Panorama were conducted on the Esses course, starting in 1956, when run by the Australian Racing Drivers Club and won by the late and great Lex Davison in his Cooper Vincent. The remaining six were organised and promoted by the BLCC, with 1967 and Greg Cusack winning in the David McKay owned Repco Brabham, then again in 1976 when the event was run in partnership with the Manly Warringah Car Club and won by the late Peter Hollinger in his Hollinger Repco. It was next run locally in 2006 when Wollongong’s Peter Gumley won his first of ten championships driving his SCV, and then he won in Bathurst again in 2000. The remaining two AHCC’s on Mount Panorama were conducted in 2004 and ’08, and won on each occasion by West Australian driver Gary West in the Lola, Barry is currently campaigning.